The National Education Summit of the Sisters of Notre Dame was held at Notre Dame College, June 20 – 22. The Education Summit is an opportunity for SND sponsored and affiliated schools to network and further share the SND educational vision and principles.
A summit highlight includes the presentation of several awards including the Father Bernard Overberg “Teacher of Teachers” Award. Sister Regina Alfonso, SND, was this year’s award recipient. Father Overberg believed that a true education helped children develop their God-given gifts, especially the capacity to understand their world, to live responsibly in it, and, most importantly, to open their hearts to God’s love. For over 50 years, Sr. Regina has dedicated her life to providing her students with essential educational resources in her ministry to students and teachers.
“Kids need to think you care before they care what you think.” These words from Wes Moore’s novel, The Other Wes Moore, were used to introduce Sr. Regina. The introduction stated that the differences in journeys lie in choices that are made.
Sr. Regina consistently made good choices about education—powerful choices. She changed the conversation about inner-city school education. She broke racial and social stereotypes about student success in urban education. Sr. Regina’s choices as an educator demonstrated her outstanding dedication and passion as an advocate and mentor for her students.
The award celebrates Sr. Regina’s extraordinary accomplishments. She taught every grade at the elementary level and taught at the college level for over 30 years. After retiring from full-time teaching, Sr. Regina continued her ministry through tutoring, providing reading intervention assistance, and directing the renovation of more than 20 inner-city school libraries throughout Cleveland.
In an NDC Today article from the year 2000, Sr. Regina defined teaching by stating that “teaching is not a job. It’s a lifestyle.” She continued, “This lifestyle is present in the relationships that are made with students, co-workers, and school families. It defines the individual in the work that has been done on this journey and the goals that are yet to be achieved.”
The Father Bernard Overberg “Teacher of Teachers” Award honors those who demonstrate exceptional, inspirational impact on the formation and professional learning of teachers. Sister Mary James Kelly, one of those who nominated Sr. Regina, proposed that “Sr. Regina should get some kind of ‘life achievement’ award and it should be named after her.” Certainly, thousands of students, educators, and families gratefully name her and honor her as teacher, mentor, and friend.